Will ExtremeZ-IP work with a NAS or a SAN?

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  • Product:
    ExtremeZ-IP
  • Version:
    4.0-Current
  • Document Type:
    FAQ
  • Revised:
    4/26/2010
  • Reviewed:
    10/27/2005

Question:

Will ExtremeZ-IP work with a NAS or a SAN?

Answer:

The key questions for NAS or SAN device compatibility with ExtremeZ-IP are, “are you running Windows?” and “do you support NTFS?”. There are some NAS solutions that run Linux or proprietary solutions, but most vendors now use Windows in some form; from Windows XP Embedded to Storage Server 2003. If you want to confirm compatibility with your specific NAS or SAN, we recommend that you test ExtremeZ-IP specifically with your solution. To obtain a free trial version of ExtremeZ-IP please fill out the request form on the Group Logic web site:

http://www.grouplogic.com/products/extremez-ip/?fa=free-trial

Background Information:

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is file sharing technology that uses a dedicated device attached to the network. A NAS solution only allows access to data at the file level. Storage Area Networks (SANs) are implemented at the disk block-level. A SAN connects to one or more standalone servers.

A fundamental difference in these technologies is that NAS can read files, but has no way to read or “understand” disk blocks. In general, because a SAN understands the file structure at the block-level, it will return the data you requested far more quickly than NAS. This is because a SAN uses hardware protocols such as Fiber Channel or SCSI as opposed to a network protocol such as HTTP, SMB/CIFS, or AFP. It is possible to have multiple NAS devices that connect to a SAN using Fiber Channel interfaces.

ExtremeZ-IP directly accesses the NTFS file system, therefore it is only compatible with devices that allow block level access to a disk. While this would appear to prevent ExtremeZ-IP from being used with a NAS device, ExtremeZ-IP can be installed if the NAS is using an embedded version of Windows. In fact, a number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) license ExtremeZ-IP for use with NAS in this context.

Our recommendation is that you test ExtremeZ-IP with your solution. There are currently no known incompatibilities with SAN storage. Many of our customers are currently using the following solutions successfully:

NAS Systems Compatible With ExtremeZ-IP

* Windows Storage Server
* Windows Powered NAS
* Windows XP Embedded (WinXPe)

SAN Systems Compatible With ExtremeZ-IP

* Dell PowerVault
* EMC
* IBM FastT
* ADIC
* Apple XSAN (when accessed from a Windows Server and formatted as NTFS)

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